Scobleization plus three years

Three years and two days ago, I got Scobleized.

The highlight of Robert’s informal talk was when he plugged his tablet into the projector in a packed room at the SJSU/MLK library and showed us his aggregator.

It was Bloglines at the time, not that it mattered.

I was blown away by the amount of information — and the quality — that Scoble’s 1200 or so subscriptions provided.

I had started reading a few blogs, and I was probably still using Firefox Live Bookmarks to track them.

By the end of the semester there were more than 200 feeds in my Bloglines account.

That was three years ago, at the very beginning of my New Media / blogging / future-of-newspapers adventures.

Another thing that sticks in my mind that day was Robert’s first question to a newsroom full of “reporting and editing” majors, something along the lines of “How many of you think you’ll be working for a newspaper in 5 or 10 years?”

He lost his audience when he told the roomful of undergraduates with their hands raised that they were wrong, and that they would be working for some other sort of online news organization, or as individual bloggers, but not certainly not in paper- and ink-based news.

Didn’t lose me, though.

The messy beginnings of an online portfolio

It’s not organized as well as I’d like, and it’s neither finished nor comprehensive, but if you can’t help but be interested in the sort of stories I wrote as a reporter (way back in 2006, mind you), there are now a few clips from the Spartan Daily and Oakland Tribune posted on my Work page.

There’s a video mixed into one story there that I overshot and Shaminder painstakingly edited down to something useful.  It was shot with my Panasonic consumer-grade handycam, and I think the reasoning behind the small size had everything to do with the way College Publisher processed Quicktime videos back then.  Pretty sure they have  a Flash solution now.

All of the stuff I’ve posted there is pretty old at this point. I’ll try and add some links soon to projects I’ve produced on at the Sentinel, videos I’ve shot, etc.

Enjoy, critique, deride, lambaste, and most of all, build your own online portfolio showcasing your work in your choice of medium.

More advice from Rob Curley

If you’re an aspiring young (or not) journalist and you don’t have the good sense to pay attention to what Rob Curley says, I sort of feel sorry for you. That’s the truth, harsh as it may seem. Whenever guys like Curley or Holovaty or anyone else speaks up who has taken online journalism and developed it an extra step to create something new or different or compelling — whether it’s a way to better tell a story or a way to better build a community — I tune right in, ears on strong.

So listen up:

Curley writes to Innovation in College Media’s Bryan Murley in “What sort of things should an aspiring journalist be thinking about?”:

“And my biggest advice would be to have at least one portfolio piece that shows you understand the importance of the things I’ve listed above. If you want to impress an editor who is hiring, show him/her that you aren’t just willing to do these sorts of things, but that you can’t wait to do these sorts of things. All things being equal, who do you think gets the job: the person who hands over a bunch of photocopied newspaper clips, or someone who also sends a link to a well-done multimedia project?”

Hey Spartan Daily kids (and all J-School students everywhere). Those of you just writing stories for the print edition, not participating in the blogs, not asking your faculty advisers when they’re going to get you one of those great audio recorders, not asking where you can borrow a video camera from, not asking the online editor to show you how the content management system works… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Good luck at the internship with the weekly paper, but seriously, if you want more than that out of a journalism career, it’s time to either start learning on your own, or asking for more from your school.

If you ask them to teach you more, maybe they’ll get the idea that they should be teaching you more.

Which newspaper will drop its print edition first?

Wired News prediction for 2007: “A major newspaper gives up printing on paper to publish exclusively online.

Howard Owens doesn’t think so: “Ain’t happening. There’s still too much revenue tied up in print and not enough online. A major newspaper — I’m taking this to mean a major metro — couldn’t support it’s current news operation with a digital-only strategy. Not now. Not yet. Not for a couple to a few years.

Lucas Grindley follows the money: “If a newspaper stops printing, about two-thirds of its operating expenses are thrown out the window. No more newsprint. No more carriers. No more circulation department, sales kiosks and all that.

Bryan Murley says college papers can do it under certain circumstances:

  • A small advertising base
  • A majority of funding from student fees
  • A small staff
  • A visionary editor
  • A forward-thinking adviser
  • A fully wired campus

Calling the Spartan Daily

Steve Greene was right when he recommended the Daily become a weekly print paper with a continuous online news site, a la the [X]Press at San Francisco State.

Cue rant: I’m not going into the painful details about how much talking-head event coverage gets into the Daily, or how certain stories (and feature photos) are repeated each and every semester (ballroom dancing, anyone?), or how much superfluous wire copy gets into print during busy points in the school year, but seriously, students are being cheated out of the experience of working in a continuous news environment because the faculty sees the print product as the end-all be-all of newspapering. Note to my peers: As reporters, you will be expected to get stories done before 5pm on occasion, and they will be posted online immediately. That’s the real world of newspapers today. It’s nice that the Daily has trained a steady string of page designers, but it could just as easily turn out an annual crop of multimedia producers. Wouldn’t that be a bit of a modernization? End rant.

How much of the same can be said of your major metro daily? Or your small-to-medium town broadsheet replete with wire copy on international events and faraway football games?

How many broadsheets will be willing to start the process of change by re-aligning as tabloid-size papers with less cable news and Internet overlap of content?

We’ll see more announcements of this sort of thing in 2007.  I wish that college newspapers would lead adoption instead of following five years behind trends, but that might still be a pretty hefty wish.

Good luck to all daily print publications this year — they’re going to need it.

How would you create an online community at SJSU?

Daniel Sato, online editor of the Spartan Daily student newspaper at San Jose State University, is trying to come up with a way to let readers vote their own stories up the charts, to tackle the twin problems of there being little sense of community at SJSU (online OR off, in my opinion) and organizations constantly complaining that the school paper ignores them.

He’s talking about using Pligg to build a site where clubs and teams can essentially submit links to their own stories, and then the readers can vote on them as they please, a la Digg.

Will it work?

I’m skeptical, but then again, the first time Daniel pointed me to Digg, I wrote the site off as a bunch of losers who didn’t know anything about the stories they were voting on.

What do you think? Would you give your readers a “Submit This” button and then let them vote stories up and down a user-generated-content page?

Go tell Daniel.

Spartan Daily online redesign

That said, the Spartan Daily just launched a redesign on its College Publisher site.

Daniel Sato and Neal Waters started this project over the summer, and from the sound of things, getting an original design implemented on top of a CP template was more difficult this time around, compared to the pretty conventional design I worked up about a year ago.

Here’s a quick tour of the site’s development from Summer 2005 through today

How it was when I found it, Summer 2005:

Sometime during development before Fall 2005 launch of the first redesign I did:

Hmm. I don’t seem to have a screenshot of how the site actually looked in Fall 2005. Or what it looked like until yesterday. I actually need those. Ah, wait, the Wayback Machine can help with the most recent iteration. This shot is from Spring 2006:

Check out more of the Daily’s facelift, and keep in mind that there’s more to building a successful online student news site than making it look pretty.

Advice for recent J-School grads

Expecting a serious post about what I think journalism students should be learning in order to get a great job when they graduate?

Been there. Done that.

Instead, go check out what my all-time favorite Spartan Daily columnist has to say on the topic. Especially if you’re an SJSU student or alum – you’ll get a few more of the jokes. Long live SJSUCK.